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Tag Archive: book review

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Five star review of Out Of Bounds by Val McDermid

July 21, 2017

A chilling mystery told with compassion and wit, and a central character I feel I know like a best friend.

Cold case detective, Karen Pirie, the central character in Out Of Bounds, is a beautifully flawed, compassionate, ballsy, obsessive, lonely character. Even when times are tough for her, she can be generous to those in trouble, including her less-than-bright side-kick, and a group of Syrian refugees. In fact I love how subtly McDermid weaves into the narrative the contentious issue of what happens to refugees as they are being processed for asylum.

Pirie finds herself trying to solve not one, but three cases: the rape and murder of Tina McDonald twenty-odd years ago, a current suicide which she believes is murder, and a bombing of a light aircraft twenty-two years ago for which the IRA was blamed. And McDermid weaves theses plots together brilliantly.

I remember watching a YouTube interview of Val McDermid by Peter James in which she was asked, ‘What is the question you least like being asked?’ Her reply was, ‘How do I come up with my ideas.’ With over thirty published books to her name, there is no doubt that the wonderful McDermid has no shortage of ideas for great stories and continues to captivate our hearts and imaginations.

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Review of Chris Ewan’s Long Time Lost

July 12, 2017

Reminiscent of Jack Reacher, a savvy, enthralling thriller…
The premise of Long Time Lost is a clever one: Nick Miller helps people disappear, setting them up with a new life and identity, because witness protection just doesn’t cut it when it comes to criminals like Connor Lane, who can find almost anyone. Kate Sutherland is the focus of Miller’s efforts throughout the story, and his relationship with her makes the thriller more than an intriguing crime-spy thriller, which it most certainly is. It makes it personal, as we watch them deal with their worlds implode and the dance of trust and doubt they both experience. Renner has to be one of my favourite henchmen of all time. Old school. Loyal. Saddled with a Mancunian psychopath, a killer with no scruples, a new type of assassin. I heartily recommend this book!

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Review of Spare Me The Truth: C.J. Carver is a master of the high-octane thriller

July 9, 2017

Secrets, betrayal and a killer who will have you looking over your shoulder.

Spare Me The Truth opens with a bang: with fast action and a tantalizing mystery – who is Cedric and why must Stella Reavy re-enter Dan’s life, an act which is clearly going to wreak havoc with his life – and this is exactly how I like my thrillers to start. The worlds of three intriguing characters are about to collide: Reavy’s daughter Dr Grace, Dan Forrester who lives a quiet life which somehow he knows doesn’t feel right, and PC Lucy Davies, who is investigating the disappearance of Bella Frances. Each of these characters either keeps a dark secret or is about to find out something shocking about a loved-one. In fact secrets, and whether people should be told the truth, is a theme that runs throughout the whole breathtakingly exciting book. Three plots are expertly interwoven into a nail-biting climax. C.J Carver is a master of the high-octane thriller not just because she writes action and characters so well, but because of her humanity.
Published by Zaffre Publishing.

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Review of Vicious Circle by C.J. Box

June 20, 2017

Evocative, creepy and tense – a masterful modern-day, dark, cowboy thriller.
Vicious Circle is a true wilderness thriller and the evocative setting in the chilly mountains of Wyoming really drew me in. This is the seventeenth book in the Joe Pickett series, and the first one I have read, and it didn’t matter at all to my enjoyment of the book. Pickett is an unusual and therefore fascinating thriller hero – a game warden, so not a police officer or detective. He’s also a quiet hero and a family man and it is the dynamic with his family, whom he will protect at any cost, which is so touching. His old enemy is back and out for revenge and Pickett must protect his family against a charming and dangerous adversary.

I found the location mesmerizing as I am a wilderness fan but I think it is the cast of characters that had me so hooked, especially the goons, Brutus and the Weasel, and Farkus at the bar before he meets an untimely end. They add a touch of humour in an otherwise sinister and scary plot.

I was lucky enough to meet the author, C.J. Box at the UK’s CrimeFest in May 2017 and really enjoyed hearing about his ranch in Wyoming and his family. He’s a great ambassador for his State and a wonderful author. I can’t recommend this book enough.

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Review of Triple Crown by Felix Francis

May 15, 2017

I will be moderating a panel at CrimeFest on Thursday 18 May called The Hunter Hunted, and joining me will be author Felix Francis, author of Triple Crown. Here is my short review of his book:

Great characters and fascinating insight into horse racing
I am not a horse racing fan but I found the author’s insight into the disturbingly corrupt world of international horse racing fascinating, and I really enjoyed the book’s very British central character, Jeff Hinkley, forced out of his comfort zone in the USA. The tension really mounts when Jeff goes undercover as a groom and faces numerous potentially hazardous situations. A really great read.

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